While opposition parties have finalised their candidates for by-elections and are busy campaigning, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is yet to disclose who will contest the polls from the party’s platform.
Adding to the conundrum, senior party activists have yet again raised their concern over ticket allotment alleging the party’s old guards who supported the PTI ‘when it had meagre political influence’ were ignored.
Though the PTI’s central board has chosen Gul Bacha for the prestigious NA-1, many disgruntled workers have objected to the party’s decision stating he is an Afghan citizen.
Bacha played an active role as PTI chairman Imran Khan’s election campaign incharge for NA-1. Senior party leaders, however, are lobbying for Saleem Jan Khan and Samad Mursaleen, and several union council level office bearers of PTI from PK-2 and PK-3 have launched campaigns against Bacha calling him ‘unfit to contest elections’.
Bacha is also the elected Town-1, Peshawar president of PTI and belongs to a lower-middle class family.
NA-1 was vacated by PTI chairman after he defeated Awami National Party’s senior leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour in the May general elections and chose to take oath from his Rawalpindi seat.
The by-elections, which are scheduled for August 22, will be held on five National Assembly and four provincial assembly seats.
PTI has also yet to announce its candidate for NA-13 due to internal rifts among party workers. NA-13 was vacated by K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser after he chose to stand from his provincial seat. “Qaiser wants the seat for one of his brothers, but senior leaders have asked Imran Khan to give the ticket to others,” said a close aid of Qaiser, requesting anonymity.
The decision to allot NA-27 and PK-70 was also revoked after objections. NA-27 was vacated by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.
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